Dickey helps Blue Jays beat Rangers again, 5-0
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Toronto Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey was feeling quite nostalgic after what he knows might have been his last time pitching in Texas.
The Rangers were his original team, and it was in their stadium 10 years ago when made his first start after making the knuckleball his primary pitch.
Now 41 and in the last year of his contract with Toronto, Dickey allowed three singles over eight innings Friday night as the Blue Jays won 5-0. The right-hander struck out six and walked one.
''You never know when you are going to be back or get another chance,'' said Dickey (2-4). ''There's a chance this could be the last time I pitch here. ... That felt very validating. To come here, to come out here where it all began. It's a neat narrative.''
This weekend wraps up the season series between the teams that met in last year's AL Division Series - and could only meet again this season in the playoffs.
Dickey allowed six homers in 3 1/3 innings in that 2006 start for Texas, and it was his last for the team that made him a first-round draft pick in 1996 and for which he made his big league debut in 2001. He perfected the knuckleball after that, winning 20 games and the 2012 NL Cy Young Award with the New York Mets before going to the Blue Jays the following season.
Chad Girodo finished off Toronto's third shutout of the season.
''He was tremendous. That was as good as I've seen him,'' Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Dickey.
Edwin Encarnacion and Troy Tulowitzki each hit their seventh homers of the season for the Blue Jays.
Encarnacion led off the eighth against reliever Tom Wilhelmsen with his homer, and then Justin Smoak doubled before Tulowitzki connected for his 200th career long ball to make it 5-0.
''It's something that I'll always remember and hopefully there's much more to come,'' Tulowitzki said.
Matt Bush made his major league debut with a perfect ninth for the Rangers against the heart of Toronto's order, seven months after getting released from a 3 1/2-year prison sentence for a drunken-driving accident that seriously injured a man. It was 12 years after he was the No. 1 overall pick by his hometown San Diego Padres, when he was still a shortstop.
The Rangers signed the 30-year-old Bush to a minor league contract in December and promoted him Friday after only 12 relief appearances at Double-A Frisco. He pitched against Toronto's 2-3-4 hitters - Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Encarnacion - with several fastballs in the upper-90s.
''It was pretty surreal, though, with those guys in the box. I like facing right-handers, so that was a good thing,'' Bush said. ''It felt really good to throw a couple pitches past those guys. That really boosts my confident. To have a scoreless outing the first time, it's just amazing.''
With Darwin Barney on third base with one out in the seventh and Donaldson at the plate, reliever Sam Dyson threw a high hard pitch that went to the backstop. That sent Donaldson sprawling to the ground in a limbo-like position to avoid getting hit while Barney trotted home.
Texas starter Martin Perez (1-3) pitched into the seventh. He had only one inning without a baserunner, but allowed only two runs (one earned) in 6 1/3 innings.
Rangers fans got their first opportunity to boo Bautista since that now infamous bat flip on his homer in the deciding Game 5 of last October's AL division series at Toronto. There were loud boos when Bautista was introduced before batting each time, and those quickly turned into cheers in the first when he grounded into an inning-ending double play. Bautista finished 1 for 5 and scored the first Toronto run.
Blue Jays: 2B Devon Travis started his rehab assignment for Single-A Dunedin on Friday. Travis had been at extended spring training while recovering from offseason surgery on his left shoulder.
Blue Jays: Marco Estrada (1-2) pitches at Texas for the first time since holding the Rangers to one run over 6 1/3 innings in Game 3 of the division series last October. The right-hander got a no-decision at home against the Rangers last week when he allowed one run over six innings.
Rangers: Colby Lewis has gone at least six innings in his last seven starts. He is winless in his last four outings against Toronto, including last week when he went seven innings in a no-decision.